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We are experiencing technical issues with our emergency phone line. In the event of an emergency, please contact 01443 508676.

How to organise a community event

Learn how to organise and promote a local Scouts event.

An exciting and memorable local event can be effective and engaging, and a fun way to let people know what Scouts does in your community.

Why host a Scouts event?

Scouts' events create a local buzz, raise awareness of local plans, promote new opportunities, and celebrate the impact our movement achieves in a community.

Here are some of the many reasons why you might use an event to bring people together:

  • Warm environment. To create a positive local buzz and challenge any inaccurate perceptions of what Scouts is.
  • Promoting a new Group. To build excitement and awareness about new opportunities, through Scouts, for young people and adults in your community.
  • Opening a new Group. To welcome more adult volunteers/young people to be part of the Scouts' fun.
  • Celebration and impact. To boost engagement, and encourage advocates and supporters, by sharing what’s been achieved in Scouts, locally.

A successful event will support you in:

  • Meeting diverse people from across your community,
  • creating a positive image of what Scouts does,
  • promoting volunteering opportunities in new sections of your community,
  • signing up young people (and volunteers) to enjoy the opportunities Scouts offers,
  • having fun.

Top tips to help you prepare and run an engaging event

We’ve brought together all the key information you’ll need to organise a Scouts’ event. You can also download the event checklist.

  • Agree on who you’re trying to reach. This’ll make sure the right people are invited and your activities are age appropriate and visually engaging.
  • Decide which key messages you plan to share with those who attend.
  • Choose the communication channels you’ll use during and after the event. This’ll make sure you create the content you’ll need for each medium.
  • Share what you’re planning with local Scouts advocates and supporters.

Create a group of stakeholders for the event, and appoint a project lead. This should make sure your event’s activities are planned and run successfully.

It’s all about arranging an event that give families and young people a chance to try our activities and think about joining Scouts. A really great event should encourage adults to think about volunteering, too.

  • Gather team members. Bring together volunteers who’ve shown an interest in events like the one you’re planning. Working with a motivated team makes managing an event easier.
  • Build a strong team structure. You might want to think about having a small core team to manage the event, with lots of helpers on the day. You could also use smaller teams in different areas of the event, reporting back to you through a team leader.
  • Make sure everyone knows and understands their roles and responsibilities. Try to meet regularly to discuss progress, and issues, as the event approaches. Consider using online meeting tools, so everyone can fit these sessions around other commitments.
  • Decide who’ll follow up the volunteering enquiries you receive at the event. In addition to emails and phone calls with those interested, consider organising an online meeting to talk to many people at once about volunteering opportunities with Scouts in your area.

After you’ve got a strong team in place, create a budget for the event. It’s important to allow a contingency for any unexpected expenses.

  • Map out the costs of putting on your event. Make a spreadsheet of everything you’ll need to pay for.
  • Identify any savings you can make. Find areas to save money that don't affect the overall experience and objectives.
  • Talk with your Districts and Counties/Areas/Regions about the plans. Find out what funds may be available from Scouts to support the event. Assistance can be given to fantastic recruitment opportunities.
  • Consider looking for funding/grants or in-kind donations to achieve your objectives.

Think about the spaces local to you that have a high public footfall. We’re talking about parks and town centres, community spaces and main streets. Remember, the space will need to accommodate the Scouts’ activities you want to offer.

  • Make a venue shortlist. How much will each cost? What’s the capacity?
  • Talk to your local council or community venue owners. You may need a licence or a permit for your event, especially if it requires road closures.
  • Look out for local events that are already happening. Are there any local events planned that your Scout Group could have a space at?
  • Make your event accessible. It’s vital to think about things such as disabled access, public toilets, emergency services access, car parking, and public transport links.
  • Contact your Lord Lieutenant. This is the monarch’s personal representative in each lieutenancy around the UK. Explain the plan for your event, they'll offer advice and support, alongside local authorities, helping to make the event happen.
  • Local elected officials. They’ve considerable influence on the decisions made in their area. Take a look at our tips on how to work with local elected officials.
  • Decide when you’re putting on your event, and how long for. This information is vital for understanding how much help you’ll need.
  • Accessible for all. Be sure that you offer activities that are accessible for everyone, fun stuff that families can do together.
  • Fun to take part. Depending on your location and resources available, you could do grass sledging in a park, set up giant tumbling tower blocks at a community centre, or set up a mobile climbing wall in a town square. Maybe you could run traditional bushcraft sessions as part of a local community event or show off Scouts’ campfire cooking skills at a nearby food festival.
  • Easy to arrange. Consider any access you may have to equipment from local Groups and campsites, or, if you’ve the budget, think about hiring activities for the day. Check out some of our activity ideas.

Take some time to look at our advice for an open event – how can you adapt this for what you’re planning? Consider arranging a ‘dress rehearsal’ event with your existing members before the event itself. It’s vital you put a contingency plan in place, in case anything doesn’t go as it should on the day. 

  • Marquee or shelter (Scouts branded, if possible).
  • Activity equipment.
  • Items for your stall or display. Could you borrow equipment from your District or County?
  • Items to give away. Consider getting leaflets from the Brand Centre.
  • Budget for the event. Work out who’s paying/donating for what and look at the possibility of sponsorship from local businesses. This’ll also encourage them to promote the event to their staff and families.
  • Create an online form for people interested in volunteering on the day to fill in. Use Google Forms as it’s free. Questions should be simple, follow the same structure as our volunteer enquiry form.
  • How many people will you need on the day? Will they be there all day or take turns supporting the event/activities? Remember, several volunteers will be needed to run the activities, staff the stall (if you have one), and hold adult recruitment conversations.
  • Decide who’ll run and support the promotional stall (try to include young people and Explorer Scout Young Leaders). Make sure they’re happy in this role; personable and comfortable chatting with various kinds of people.
  • Will there be people taking it in turns to give others a break?
  • Take some time to read our top tips for recruiting at events.
  • Encourage participation. Brief members of your team to look after invited guests or reporters, helping them take part in what’s been organised.
  • Make sure you have a team member capturing event highlights with lots of photographs.

There are two important safety factors when it comes to running your day: trying to prevent something going wrong, and getting cover in case it does.

Some tips for keeping everyone safe:

  • Write a thorough risk assessment. Risks to consider include the use of bouncy castles, sports or other physical activities, hot weather, food safety, allergies and dietary requirements, first aid, large crowds, children running about, the availability of alcohol at the event, and safety hazards at the venue (including outdoor events). 
  • Get Public Liability Cover. Unity Insurance Services, a specialist Scouts’ insurance broker, advises that you’ll need public liability cover to protect you against claims for any injury to the public or damage to other people's property.
  • Check you're insured. If you already have insurance, check your policy to see exactly what you’re covered for, as you may need an additional event insurance policy. Take the time to look at our Scouts’ safety guidance for running an event, too. 

Music and videos can really make an event come to life. But, if your event’s likely to feature live or recorded music (even if it’s background music) or video, you may need various licences. Remember to check what you’ll need in advance, so you’ve everything sorted on the day.

There are two separate licensing bodies you can use to protect music as intellectual property:

  • PPL UK licenses Groups to play recorded music at public events, with some of the fees going to the recording artists and record companies. 
  • PRS for Music licenses Groups to play live or recorded copyrighted music at public events, with some of the fees going to composers. 

Whether you need one or both licences depends on several factors. You may be able to avoid one, or both fees, if:

  • You use only specially recorded copyright-free music.
  • Either the person playing the music or the venue you're using has the relevant licences.
  • Your event is private. This won’t be the case for Scouts events, which are designed to engage the public. 

If anyone at your event is showing a video, film clip, DVD or TV programme, motion picture licences and permissions may be required. Our top tip is not to show this content unless your event depends on it. Instead, you could always show videos from our Scouts’ YouTube channel

Head over to the Brand Centre where you’ll find a selection of templates ready to use. It’s free to register for the Brand Centre if you haven’t already. You have the choice of ordering pre-printed materials or creating a high-res PDF which will be emailed to you to print yourself.

  • Put up promo posters for your event in the local area and on social media – they’ll get the word out to as wide an audience as possible.
  • Think about how you’ll appeal to diverse communities.
    • Try contacting local mosques, synagogues, churches and Buddhist temples. Approach a range of faith leaders, asking to work together on publicising the event.
    • Use local community networks. Try reaching out to the council/parish councils, and other voluntary organisations in the area.
  • Use social media before and during the event/activity.
    • Look at the Brand Centre for Facebook and Twitter banners, along with profile images and graphics you can adapt and use on your Scouts' social media.
    • Send out assets to relevant local social media groups in order to get the word out.
    • Take a moment to read this advice on growing Scouts.
    • Consider asking other organisations to share a social media post about the event with their audience as well.
    • Take a look at our social media toolkit for more ideas.
  • Use your networks to promote your event. For example, you could ask your young people to promote it through their schools, networks, and social media platforms.
    • See if local schools/nurseries/childcare facilities can share details in their newsletters/email updates.
    • Contact your local sports’ clubs to see if they’ll promote your event.
    • Ask local universities and colleges to help with promotion. Remember volunteer experience looks good in the CV of university students and some need to do this for their courses.
  • Contact local media outlets – especially local newspapers, community magazines, and radio stations.
  • Ask the local council if they’ll include details of the event in their newsletter or on their website.
  • Speak to those who manage local community spaces if they could provide space for you to hold the event. This could include:
    • Sports centres
    • Shopping centres
    • Parks
    • Historical locations
  • Contact local businesses.
    • Businesses may want to contribute to your event as a way of building brand awareness.
    • Ask businesses if they’d consider sponsoring the event.
    • Look into whether the business runs any employer supported volunteering schemes.
    • Make sure it’s a suitable business to be seen in association with a young person’s organisation.
    • Could you promote your event in empty shop windows?
  • Use photo release forms to make sure you can share the photos from your event.
  • Speak to a variety of attendees (young people, families, adult volunteers, and external supporters) to capture quotes for use in media releases.
  • Ask those who express an interest in volunteering about their skills and what they might enjoy about Scouts.
  • Make sure potential volunteers complete a volunteer enquiry form.
  • Write and pitch a press release to local media outlets, social media, and via internal communication contacts. Look at our media toolkit for more ideas.
  • Compose an article for the local paper, website, or social media.
  • Follow up on any enquiries as quickly as possible and using each potential volunteer’s preferred contact method (email, phone call, online workshop).
  • Remember, you might need more than one conversation before new adults are willing to sign up. Look at running four-week challenges or four-step challenges in your local Groups. Work out who could run these sessions and in which Group. It may be the new starter ends up volunteering at a different Group to where they attended these sessions.
  • Try organising a District social event, such as a BBQ and invite potential new volunteers along. Events like this are a great time to run an adult talk.
  • It’s important to match potential new volunteers with the right opportunity, suitable for their skills and interests. Try to make sure the opportunity is what the new adult is looking for, and not just a case of them being used to fill a gap.
  • Always ask for feedback from your event team. Share the impact that has been achieved on the day and thank everyone for their efforts in making it all happen.
  • Start planning your next event!
Media toolkit

Learn to generate positive local media coverage on the radio, in print and online outlets. 

Get Scouts noticed in the media >
Social media toolkit

Get top tips and guidance on how to use social media to engage with people outside of Scouts.

Learn to use social media effectively >